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Is Your CV Extinct? Seven Things to Update

10:56am Tuesday 18th January 2011

Job hunting is always hard work. You look through job ads, send out applications, go to interviews and improve your networking. And you're still not getting any offers? Take a closer look at your CV.

It is your first chance for a great impression with your potential future employer. And especially in times of economic downturn this document has more power than ever to decide whether you're considered for a job or not. So you should do anything that it won't remain your last impression.

For many career coaches, this piece of advice ranks high on their list of career commandments -- in good and bad times: Whether or not you're unemployed and looking for work, your CV should always be up to date. This way, you can put your CV to use immediately, rather than having to completely rework it for the job search.

Pay close attention to these areas on your CV as it is not always obvious how to best update them:
1. Personal details
You want to be contacted, so always include your current contact details. Changes of phone numbers are easily forgotten. Include the complete dialing code (with the international code, if appropriate) for both landlines and mobile numbers.

2. References
Try not to let your references get too old. You should try to have the details of two people from your current workplace and a third from a previous job.

3. Your current position
Your current job and any changes within that are also worth noting. Therefore, always include your most recent job title, as well as outstanding accomplishments achieved in that role. Have you taken on more responsibility in your job? Write it down, again with dates.

4. Further training and education
Anytime you are completing or have finished a professional course make sure you add it to your CV. The more often you can prove you have continuously acquired additional knowledge, the better your chances.

5. Transferable skills
Any skill that you have acquired at some point in your life is transferable; you just need to recognise and evaluate the skills you develop in any working situation, be it a part-time job, casual work, voluntary work, vacation work or an internship. Show employers how it applies exactly to what they are looking for and that it is useful to them.

6. Additional information
Here you can list any skill that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Maybe you speak a foreign language or have acquired relevant IT skills over the years - don't leave it out.

7. Interests and hobbies
Have you developed new interests in your free time? You can include anything that is relevant to the job: hobbies, interests or volunteer work. It's a good sign for potential employers when they see that you have a balanced life and that you spend your leisure time doing something meaningful.

Tailor your CV
Now that you've updated your CV once, don't think the work is done. It is just as important to customize your CV every time you apply to a job opening.

Generic CVs don't impress anybody and surely won't land you a job.

Include the position's job title and any reference code or number provided. Always take a close look at what the potential employer is looking for according to the job advert. If your CV does not already highlight a key skill area mentioned in the job description, change this and make sure it does.

Tailoring your CV is a necessary step to landing an interview and ultimately a job.

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